The How to Train Your Dragon spin-off Dragons: Riders of Berk will be the first Dreamworks TV series to premiere on Cartoon Network — with the series set to fill in the gap between the 2010 feature film and its 2014 sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2. And yesterday at Comic Con, we learned everything there is to know about it.
Retaining voice talent
The biggest announcement from the panel centered on keeping voice talent from the original How to Train your Dragon movie. Jay Baruchel will reprise the role of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. The showrunners expressed that they "had to have Jake," and that "Jake didn't want anyone else to play the role." America Ferrera will once again voice Astrid, while Christopher Mintz-Plasse will return to voice Fishlegs.
Changes in the rule of Berk
In the course of the series, Stoic comes to grips with the idea of Berk becoming friendly to dragons, and he even warms up to his son changing playing a role in the union between humans and dragons. Stoic still plays a large role, but has to feel his way through this new position. Gobber will return, but he be a little more accustomed to life amongst the dragons, transferring his previous knowledge of killing the beasts to caring for them.
The panel teased two new characters for the first season, Bucket and Mulch, a duo played by Tim Conway and Tom Wilson (Biff from Back to the Future!). The showrunners deemed the characters the "Lenny and Squiggy" of the show, mentioning that the duo will act as a sounding board between the pro and anti-dragon sentiments in Berk.
Living with dragons
Dreamworks premiered 15 minutes of footage mixed together from episodes 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7. The clips featured some amazing animation, making use of no shots lifted from the original movie. In the segment we see the founding of the Berk Dragon Academy, a step necessary to intermix the dragons with the people of Berk after 300 years of fighting.
A new character, Mildew, will be the first villain in the series, creating trouble when the dragons damage several homes within Berk. Some of the dragons will not be trainable, and Mildew will play a large role in stirring commotion when this problem arises.
Of the new villains premiered, Alvin the Treacherous will play the biggest role in season one. Mark Hamill will voice Alvin the Treacherous, who's a throwback to J. E. Bright's novel. Alvin is a member of the Outcasts, a rough and tumble ground of bandits, with Alvin making his first appearance in a two-part story in episodes five and six. Alvin eventually sets his eyes on Hiccup and his knowledge, hoping to train his own dragons to use as a weapon.
Dagur the Deranged (David Faustino) is another villain the panel teased. Dagur will lead the Beserkers, his home tribe that he hopes to return to its former glory. We will see this character introduced at the end of season one, and he will receive more airtime in season two.
And the best part - New Dragons!
The panel premiered two new dragons, Torch and Thunderdrum. Torch is a baby "typhoomerang" dragon – a type of dragon that flies by spinning and leaving giant scorch marks in the process. The appearance of Torch makes Toothless a bit jealous, but the group seeks to re-unite Torch with his mother in episode four of the first season.
Stoic gets his own dragon as well in the series: Thunderdrum. Stoic initially absconds with Toothless early in the series, but he's a little to heavy for Toothless to carry, leading Stoic to take control of the massive dragon Thunderdrum.
Recreating the quality of the movie
One of the big goals of the series is to deliver something that approaches what you'd get from a theatrically released animated series, both in animation and scope. The showrunners hinted about a "haunted house" episode from season one, featuring a smoke monster the kids and dragons must track down. Also, one episode at the end of the first season will speak to the uniqueness of Toothless as a Night Fury.
The series will premier during Cartoon Network's Fall rotation — with a sneak preview likely sometime later this summer. Season one will feature 26 episodes, and season two is already in the pipeline. Kit Harrington (Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) is scheduled to play an unnamed villain in How to Train Your Dragon 2, but the showrunners did not confirm or deny his appearance in Riders of Berk.